Stony Brook's offensive reputation was good as advertised in the opening game of the Baton Rouge Super-Regional on Friday afternoon.
The Seawolves, who entered the game with a .336 team batting average, collected 14 hits - equaling the second most allowed by LSU in a game this season. Only some clutch pitching from Aaron Nola and the Tigers bullpen prevented Stony Brook from cruising to a first-game victory in the best-of-three series.
The first game of the super-regional was suspended due to rain after 11 innings. It will be resumed Saturday at 10 a.m. The second game will be played 50 minutes after the completion of the suspended game.
The Seawolves stranded 14 runners on base, including ten in scoring position. Stony Brook was 2-for-14 with runners in scoring position. Neither hit drove in a run. Three of the Seawolves' four runs came on homers. The other run came across on a sacrifice fly.
It was a gritty outing by Nola, who stranded six runners in scoring position in his six innings. The two runs allowed by Nola came on a two-out home run by nine-hole batter Sal Intagliata in the second inning. Kevin Courtney singled before Intagliata hit his second homer of the season.
Following Intagliata's round-tripper, Travis Jankowski tripled. Nola prevented Jankowski from scoring by getting Pat Cantwell to pop out to third baseman Tyler Hanover and striking out William Carmona.
In four other innings against Nola, the Seawolves got a runner to second base, but didn't score. Stony Brook loaded the bases with two out in the first on singles by Carmona and Kevin Krause sandwiched around a hit batter. Cole Peragine was called out on strikes to end the threat.
Courtney opened the fourth with a single and was bunted to second by Intagliata. Nola stranded Courtney at second as both Jankowski and Cantwell flied out to center fielder Arby Fields.
A fielding error by first baseman Mason Katz on Maxx Tissenbaum's one-out ground ball put led to another trouble spot for Nola in the fifth. On a hit-and-run, Tissenbaum advanced to second as Krause grounded out to shortstop Austin Nola. Peragine also grounded out to Nola to end the inning.
In the sixth, Aaron Nola yielded back-to-back, two-out singles by Intagliata and Jankowski. Once again, Nola delivered in the clutch by retiring Cantwell on a ground ball to Hanover. In his six innings, Nola allowed nine hits with no walks and six strikeouts.
"If not for Aaron Nola and his clutch pitching, we wouldn't have been in the game," LSU coach Paul Mainieri said. "Stony Brook probably feels a little frustrated. They probably feel like they should have had more runs."
Joey Bourgeois, who replaced Nola in the seventh, followed the same script. Carmona walked and Tissenbaum singled. Krause moved both runners up a base with a bunt. With the infield playing in, Peragine grounded out to Katz. Bourgeois also got pinch-hitter Steven Goldstein to ground out to Katz.
With Stony Brook's lead cut in half at 2-1, Mainieri went to Chris Cotton in the eighth. For the first time all day, the Seawolves went down in order in the eighth. Cotton struck out both Courtney and Intagliata before retiring Jankowski on a ground ball to Katz.
Cotton got into a jam in the ninth when Carmona doubled with two out. However, Stony Brook stranded another runner in scoring position as Tissenbaum struck out and Krause flied out to center fielder Jared Foster.
After LSU tied the score in the bottom of the ninth, Cotton gave up a home run by Goldstein which put the Seawolves ahead 3-2. One inning later with the score again tied, Nick Goody gave up a run. However, Goody avoided a big inning.
Jankowski singled, moved to second on a bunt by Cantwell and to third on a single by Carmona. Goody intentionally walked Tissenbaum. Krause hit a fly ball to shallow center field, which was caught by Katz. Jankowski tagged up and scored just ahead of Katz' throw.
With runners on first and second, Goody retired Peragine on a ground ball to second baseman JaCoby Jones. Goody was heading back out for the 12th inning when the game was stopped.
"I feel pretty fortunate sitting here with a tie ball game," Mainieri said. "We have a chance to win it tomorrow."
Mainieri is not certain who will be the pitcher when the game resumes Saturday. He did say that Goody would be an option. Kevin Gausman is scheduled to start the second game of the series.